The Song of Achilles book review

Give me a second to breathe, would you?
*Breathes deeply*
Thank you.

Oh. Damn. I’m still trying to catch my breath. The Song of Achilles. Madeline Miller. Gosh.
Okay. This book is captivating, as said on the cover. I have to admit, I did not expect much going in. I want to say I’ve read a lot of Greek mythology, but I’ve only read Rick Riordan’s books on the subject. Miller’s work is nothing if not breathtaking. Literally. There isn’t much as the story begins. Just run-of-the-mill happenings and whatnots. The general introduction to the character – Patroclus – who is our eyes and ears for this tale.

Patroclus is pretty much the ordinary prince. Literally. There’s nothing special or exciting about him. His father said as much, practically always asking Patroclus to not disgrace him. A real peach. But Patroclus manages to murder a noble’s son in cold blood. You’d never guess why. When he is found out, he’s exiled to another kingdom with little more than peas to his name. This is where it all begins.

We see Patroclus in an unexpected friendship with the prince of this kingdom, who happens to be Achilles. And the boys grow fond of each other, a formidable bond between them. A bond that causes Patroclus to be everywhere Achilles is. Like Chris and Greg from everybody hates Chris. But with a lot more bond. Even with Achilles’ goddess of a mother regarding their friendship with disdain. It was prophesied that Achilles would be the greatest warrior of his generation, and Patroclus wasn’t worthy of him. Achilles’ mother said that, not me.

It is this same bond that ultimately leads our heroes to the fields of battle, following an oath that Patroclus swore a number of years ago. The battle wore on for years and years, until one of them is lost. And the pain of that loss was devastating. Damning even. The other was left a savage, ravaged by the loss.

The book is a very different take from the usual, but it’s just so amazing in its own right. Of course we see Chiron, I mean, duh. But the story manages to stand on its own, not beaten down by accompanying stories with voices trying too much to be heard. And the writing style also is commendable, not much modernity. You forget after a few chapters though. Only in some bits was it jarringly obvious that the language tells of a different time.

The ending didn’t disappoint either, with the buildup of pressure. It did surprise me, I won’t lie. And my heart was heavy in the last pages, as I saw that it indeed ended with that devastation. A really good book in all, and I would definitely recommend. There are some surprises though, if you can find them. I hope you can. It’s like different strings of yarn woven to fit this particular shape.

Rating: Don’t forget to breathe. Especially as it ends. I found that I forgot that.

Okay. πŸ˜ͺ *Sighs dramatically* Thank you for reading my review of Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles. What book would you like to see reviewed? Let me know in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss any posts. Book reviews are posted every Wednesday. Till next time, have fun reading!

Get the book here.


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